If you job seekers were thinking about taking time off from the hunt in December, that might not be the best idea. Many people think there's a holiday hiring lull this time of year, but that is, for most companies, a myth.
Many job candidates think because hiring managers are closing the books and wrapping up budgets that they can't hire this late to the end of the year. Or that companies are too busy focusing on the merriment of holiday parties and that they're not focused on bringing in new staff.
The Truth of Holiday Hiring
The opposite is true: Because many companies slow down their sales and marketing this time of year, there's actually more time to focus on finding the best candidate for open positions. And if there's a space where a new hire is needed, they don't find advantage in waiting to hire until the new year. Many companies have to fill positions before the end of the year, or they lose the opportunity due to budget restrictions on hiring.
Because business may be slow right now, it's to a company's advantage to hire and train new staff. Training you now means there's plenty of time to shadow other co-workers and really learn the job before you get slammed with work in the new year.
If there's anything different this time of year, it's that it might be hard for the people who need to decide who to hire to get together to make the decision, with holidays and vacation time making schedules mismatched. But at the very least, you have the opportunity to interview for the position and make a positive impression.
Put a Bow on Your Resume
All this being said, it's time for you to chug onward in your journey of finding the ideal job. Make sure your resume is up to date, and let recruiters who have reached out to you before know you're interested. They're getting pressure from the companies they represent to find qualified job candidates right now, so they might be your best "in" to your next role.
Pay attention to job boards, but don't limit yourself to them. Attend local events to get to know the decision makers at companies. Holiday parties are a great opportunity to connect; just don't push your agenda too much. Instead, have casual conversations with people in the company, then follow up after the party with an email or phone call letting them know of your interest in working for the business. Having that personal connection will be what piques their interest, not you telling them how hard a worker you are while they try to enjoy the holiday atmosphere.
Make It Work to Your Advantage
Because so many job seekers think hiring slows this time of year, you'll have less competition for the positions you apply for. But that doesn't mean you can slack on the application process. Just like with job seeking any time of year, keep these tips in mind:
--Tailor your resume to highlight skills this particular position requires.
--Customize your cover letter.
--Practice typical interview questions so you have polished answers.
--Dress for success; plan your professional outfit for interview day in advance.
--Send a thank you card to the person who interviewed you.
--Follow up a week after your interview to see if a decision has been made.
The holidays might just be the time you find the job you've been looking for. And finding it now makes for a great start to the new year, so get looking.
Lindsay Olson is a founding partner and public relations recruiter with Paradigm Staffing and Hoojobs.com, a niche job board for public relations, communications, and social media jobs. She blogs at LindsayOlson.com, where she discusses recruiting and job search issues.